Education Beyond Borders
The TTUHSC PLFSOM received more than 2,500 applications for its charter class. On July 9, 2009, the 40 students chosen from the applicant pool took their place in history. These students were selected not only for their high intellectual ability and strong record of scholastic achievement, but also for their varied backgrounds, interests, life experiences and qualities indicative of academic success. These students´ undergraduate universities included Texas Tech University, The University of Texas (Austin, El Paso, San Antonio, Dallas, Arlington, Brownsville, Permian Basin), Sul Ross University and the University of Houston. Also represented in the TTUHSC PLFSOM inaugural class were the University of Michigan, Rensselaer, Princeton, Baylor, Emory, Rice, Johns Hopkins and Harvard.
Medical students from the TTUHSC School of Medicine in Lubbock have been training on the El Paso campus for their third- and fourth-year for more than 38 years. Once the inaugural class begins their third year in July 2011, these TTUHSC-Lubbock students will no longer train in El Paso.
Integration is the key to the curriculum of the TTUHSC PLFSOM. Unlike a traditional medical school, which requires students to wait until their third year of studies before they are introduced to the clinical sciences, students at the PLFSOM are immersed into the basic and clinical sciences in their first year. Students learn anatomy, biochemistry, physiology and other basic science concepts and content needed to understand specific clinical presentations (e.g., the patient with chest discomfort). From the first day of medical school, students are taught to think like a doctor. Active learning comes into play when students interact with highly complex mannequins that simulate everything from cardiac arrest to a vaginal birth in our Advanced Teaching and Assessment in Clinical Simulation Center. Standardized patients, individuals trained to act out symptoms of certain conditions, help students learn how to diagnose specific conditions while also developing their people skills.
Not only is the curriculum integrative, but students are also integrated into the community. At the only four-year medical school on the U.S./Mexico border, students interact with their diverse community through the Society, Community and Individual Course. The course integrates medicine and public health by providing an arena that enhances Spanish language skills, provides an opportunity to experience community medicine and home visits while interacting with members of a healthcare team, and gives students the chance to experience culturally diverse populations.
The location of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine provides students with insight to afflictions and circumstances known in developing countries, while still living in the United States. In the final two years of medical school, students interact with actual patients and gain knowledge in ways that no textbook or simulated situation could ever teach. These experiences provide students with the background to lead the nation in medical care and prevention upon graduation.